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Operations Process Design Essay

Operations process design

1. Introduction

The assignment will be on the manufacturing of concrete stone paving. This product has been chosen because its demand is growing rapidly as most people are concerned about the need for decorating their homes, businesses, municipalities are involved in small town regeneration programmes and there is growth in development buildings and malls in the Eastern Cape. Concrete stone paving is preferred instead of other forms because it is versatile, aesthetically attractive, functional, cost effective and requires little or no maintenance if correctly manufactured and laid. Sellers of concrete stone paving in East London are sourcing it from other provinces or countries, there are very few manufacturers and yet the demand is high.

The company which will be started for the manufacturing of stone paving will develop a business strategy and mission and the operations mission and objectives will be aligned to them. The operations’ mission will be to provide quality and value for money stone paving in an effective and efficient way. The distinctive competence is the fact the local manufacturing that will offer customer opportunity to order desired designs instead of choosing from the available designs. The company will also capitalise short lead times as the product is locally manufactured and has highly skilled and experienced cross functional team that is innovative.

2. Product/service design

In designing the product the company will adopt an inter-functional view, meaning that a product must meet the market needs and also have a technical advantage. This will be easily accomplished by the company as it possess a team of highly experienced specialists.

Strategy for the stone paving is to differentiation and a product in which a customer finds value for money. In designing that product a cross functional team will be formed as this will benefit the organisation to make the product a success. The team will be composed of all relevant representatives who have expertise in different fields like marketing, operations, engineering and supply chain management. Suppliers and customers will be included in the design phase of the product. Similar criteria will be used for selection of suppliers that will be involved in the project. The criteria to be used will be technical expertise, capability, capacity and low risk, thus only suppliers who demonstrate these attributes will be considered.

Shruder, et al. (2013) suggests that collaboration with customers in the design process is essential as it results in a smooth running of the processes. The collaboration with customers will be considered for the development of the stone paving and different methods will be used to encourage participation like aligning incentives for customers to share knowledge and including them as advisors in the design team.

While the stone paving is developed the manufacturability and value engineering activities which are concerned with improvement of design and specification at the research, development, design and production stages of product development will be considered. The foreseen benefits of implementing manufacturability and value engineering are cost reduction, reduced complexity of the paving, reduction of environmental impact and additional standardisation amongst others (Heizer and Render, 2011).

Literature suggests different techniques that can be used in the design of products throughout the product life cycle, for the stone paving product techniques that will be used are: – o robust design – this will allow small variations in the production of the paving to be done without affecting the product. o computer aided design – the computer will be used to develop and document the different types of paving. o value analysis – successful products will be reviewed during the production process to ensure improvements.

The aspects of design for paving that will be considered include the sizes, types and colours of paving to be manufactured. Further consideration will be how the product must be manufactured, its quality and market acceptance. The specifications of the product will be meticulous in order to ensure efficient production. Heizer and Render (2011) states that it is vital to define, design and document a product as it determines the equipment, the layout and human resources required.

Engineering drawings will be prepared for the stone paving to show dimensions tolerances, materials and finishes of components. Then a bill of material will list the components, their description and the quantity to make one unit of each type of stone paving. The assembly drawings, assembly charts, route sheets and work orders will be used to assist in the actual production of the paving.

The laws and industry standards applicable to the product will be adhered and the product will be produced and delivered in an ethical and environmentally sound and sustainable way.

3. Process design

According to Schroeder, et al. (2013) there are different types of processes (batch, assembly line, continuous, job shop, and project) each being suitable for a specific product produced. The concrete paving slabs are a low to moderate volume and will be produced in different types, sizes and colours, therefore the batch process will be more suitable. The factory layout will be designed such that it increases the efficiency and reduces the bottlenecks in the process.

As different types of paving will be manufactured, e.g. budget manufactured stone, standard manufactured stone, premium manufactured stone and premium natural stone amongst others, the type of order fulfilment which will be appropriate is the make to order so as to reduce the costs of inventory, storage and damage. The suppliers will also be arranged such that the orders for supply like concrete and aggregates are delivered just in time for manufacturing.

The process for the manufacturing of paving will be according to the stages detailed below. 3.1 Batching

Aggregates will be used for making the various types of paving. The different aggregate types will be stored separately and so that they are well drained at all times. They will be protected from rain so as to stay dry before being mixed with the cement, thus ensuring that the optimum moisture content is not exceeded. The cement will be weighed to an accuracy of 1% except when batched by whole bags. Aggregates will be weighed to an accuracy of 2%. The weight of the aggregate batched will be adjusted in order to make allowance for moisture contained in the aggregates.

3.2 Mixing
After batching, the aggregates and binder will be discharged separately or simultaneously, together with pigment if required, into the mixer and thoroughly mixed before any additional water is added. If a mix has high fines contents it may require longer mixing. Based on measurement of the variable moisture content of the aggregates or visual assessment by operators, water must be added to the mixture to bring it to optimum moisture content. Uniformity is important because differences in water content from batch to batch will result in differences in quality. After mixing, the mixture is stored in hoppers ready for dispensing into the moulds.

3.3 Filling of moulds

Two basic principles will be applied for the production machines. The first method takes an amount of mixture and progressively compacts it under vibration until a predetermined height has been reached. In the second method, a gauged quantity of mixture is compacted for a set period. Care has to be taken for variations in density which may result if the gauged quantities are not consistent or the mixture is not uniformly distributed within the mould. Previbration is often used to facilitate filling and any gaps in moulds are thereafter topped up with a second filling of mixture.

3.4 Compaction
The standard optimum period of vibration is 3 to 12 seconds and the same standard will be applied when compacting. Concrete pavers with a thickness greater than 80 mm will not be manufactured. Frequency and amplitude of vibration will be optimised for the specific materials being used and the number of blocks being moulded per cycle.

3.5 Curing
The quality of concrete pavers is improved by water curing. Curing can be effected in one of three ways: moisture retention, steam curing and thermal insulation. The methods that will be used are detailed below: Moisture retention

This is the least sophisticated method, is effective for blocks that are less dense and thus tend to lose moisture rapidly. Loss of moisture from newly made blocks is prevented by wrapping them in plastic sheeting. Thermal curing

Newly moulded paving blocks are placed in an insulated chamber for a period of 24 hours. Temperature is increased by the heat of hydration of the cement and no additional heat is provided. The method is therefore inexpensive.

3.6 Quality control

Control measures will be implemented at various critical points during the process and specific tests will be undertaken so as to ensure that the end product is of high quality.

4. Layout

The company will have a layout strategy that will support its differentiation and value for money strategy. The layout strategy is aimed at developing an effective and efficient layout that will meet the organisation’s competitive requirements. According to (Slack, et al., 1998) the layout design must consider the achievement of the following:- o maximum utilisation of space, equipment and people

o improved flow of information, people or material
o improved employee morale and safer working conditions
o improved customer interaction, and
o flexibility to accommodate changes and innovation

4.1 Manufacturing equipment

Batching equipment
Weight batching will be performed to ensure that a uniform product is obtained and for smaller projects, whole bags of cement will be used if the sizes of batch and mixer are compatible. Mixer

Because a semi-dry mixture is used to mould concrete paving blocks, effective mixing will be done with pan and trough mixers. The size of the pan mixer will be related to production so that batches are used up within a reasonable time. Moulding machine

Paving blocks must have fullest possible compaction achieved therefore the equipment must be capable of a high degree of compaction and satisfactory output. Stationary plants using the pallet system will be used as they provide the necessary high levels of vibration and pressure.


5. Staffing

If an organisation is to achieve it’s corporate as well as operations strategy and objectives, machines and equipment are not enough. People are needed to perform the operations of the business so that ultimately a product is produced and sold to the customers, thereby making money for the business. Important decisions have to be made regarding the jobs to be performed and the type of skills and competencies people who perform those jobs should have.

The development of the organizational structure should follow after the development of the strategy and the Human Resource department in collaboration with other departments should ensure that the right people are employed and retained for the productivity and sustainability of the business. This business‘s structure will be composed of the core business functions which are engineering, operations/manufacturing, marketing and sales, finance, human resources and administration as well as information communication technology. Below is a typical organizational structure that will ensure that the organization fully functions and cross functional teams will be used to ensure utilization of skills and contribution by many towards achievement of the organizational goals.

Organisational Structure

6. Capacity planning

Capacity refers to the number of units that the organisation can hold, receive store or produce in a period of time, this assist in assessing whether the demand will be satisfied or whether facilities will be idle. It is critical to determine the size of the business with the aim of achieving high levels of utilisation and high return on investment.

The choice of equipment and the capacity decisions must be aligned to the organisation’s mission and strategy. Nigel, et al. (1998) suggests that the following factors be considered in order to obtain good capacity planning, o accurately forecasting the demand, o understanding the equipment, processes and capacity increments, o finding the optimum operating size, and o ensuring the flexibility needed for adjustments in technology, product features and mix as well as volumes.

A number of techniques are available and useful for making capacity decisions and those are bottleneck analysis, good forecasting, breakeven analysis,
cashflow and net present value amongst others.

Currently the trends show that in East London in the Eastern Cape, the demand for the paving tiles exceeds the supply as a result the prices charged are very high compared to other cities or to other provinces. The places that are selling the tiles only buy them from other provinces or countries there is only one manufacturer. Therefore by maximising on the location economies and focusing at the Eastern Cape market, one could be able to have the desired market share. A risk management plan has to be in place and an aggressive marketing strategy will be designed to ensure customers become aware of our products and the value that can be derived from sourcing paving locally.

Bottleneck management will be paid attention to by the Operations Manager as this will impact on the efficiency of the system and utilisation of resources. The four principles of bottleneck management will be taken cognisance of, the principles are: o release work order to the system at the pace set by the bottleneck’s capacity. o the bottlenecks should always be kept busy with work.

o Non-bottlenecks should have planned idle time, as increasing their capacity has no impact on the system’s overall capacity. o Increasing capacity of the bottleneck increases capacity for the whole system.

Illustration of capacity analysis with parallel processes
30 min60 min60 min60 min 28days 1 day

Break –even analysis

The break-even analysis will be calculated to determine how many products must be produced before profit can be made. Efforts to reduce the variable costs will be undertaken so that production can be maximised.

7. Location choice

Location is the geographical positioning of an operation relative to the input resources, other operations or the customers with which it interacts (Slack, et al., 1998). The objective of a location strategy is to maximise the benefits of location of the organisation. The strategies used can either be location and costs or location and innovation, for this paving manufacturing company the location and costs strategy will be the focus, innovation will be a long-term factor to be considered.

The manufacturing of concrete paving slabs requires cement, aggregates, water chemical admixtures, pigments and people amongst other factors. The company will have to identify all the necessary factors that may impact on the business financially and otherwise in order to select the location for manufacturing.

A number of methods of evaluating location alternatives can be used to reach an informed decision, the table below shows the factor rating method used to select an appropriate site. Based on the scoring for factors considered important for the site, site A will be the best choice. Factor rating method for two sites

|Key success factor |Weight |Site |Site | | | |A |B | |Proximity to suppliers |0.3 |60 |50 | |Proximity to customers |0.3 |65 |70 | |Labour pool |0.2 |45 |52 | |Climate |0.05 |60 |45 | |Wage rates |0.05 |73 |66 | |Community factors |0.1 |50 |30 | |TOTAL | |58.2 |54.9 |

The optimum choice will have to be a balance of supply side and demand site factors that are considered important by the organisation for it to maximise its profits. The centre-of gravity method, locational break-even analysis which is a cost-volume analysis to make economic comparison of location alternatives and transportation model can also be used to assist in the choice of location (Heizer and Render, 2011). The company will be located in South Africa and within the Eastern Cape and the above analysis will assist with choosing the specific site.

8. Supply chain design

According to Heizer and Render (2011) competition is no longer between companies but with supply chains. A range of suppliers will be interacted with in the manufacturing and marketing of the product and therefore an integrated approach to supply chain management must be used. Supply chain is determining factor of the product’s product costs, quality, responsiveness and differentiation. A number of supply chain strategies can be used like many or few suppliers, joint ventures, vertical integration, virtual companies amongst others. The company must should strategies that will support its objectives, provide competitive advantage and ensure satisfaction of its customers.

9. Quality management

In order to offer quality products to the customers thereby improve revenues and reduce costs, the organization will ensure that quality is managed and continuous improvement efforts are implemented. A variety of techniques can be used to ensure quality is managed, this will start with ensuring that suppliers provide products that meet required standard e.g. cement should comply with SABS EN 197-1 . This will be the norm for other products as well in order minimise the risk of a poor end product. The ISO 9000 process certification, inspections and statistical process control will be implemented. The Operators and Quality Assurers will have to be trained on quality standards and methods for checking. The company like other companies will adopt the both the lean and six sigma process improvement approaches as these have proved to assist most organizations. Quality control

Quality control is defined as the stabilisation and maintenance of a process to produce consistent output (Schroeder, et al, 2013, p210). Throughout the processes critical control points will be defined to control and improve the processes. Control measures will be implemented to:- o Monitor changes in materials so that timely changes can be implemented in manufacture. The control measure will be regularly monitoring of changes in grading and moisture content of aggregates, monitoring mix consistence and measuring wet density of blocks. The causes for a change in density will be investigated in order to ensure correction of the root cause. o Routinely monitor the quality of the product for compliance with the specification. The more routine quality and compliance tests will be the checking on dimensions of blocks, testing strength of blocks and carrying out abrasion tests at an appropriate age.

10. Conclusion

The company will achieve its business strategy and maximise profits if it has a clear and well defined operations strategy that is aligned to the business strategy. The use of cross-functional teams and supply chain strategy will assist it to gain competitive advantage and continuous improvement. The product design, process design, layout and supply chain should also support the operations of the company and lead to maximisation of profits. Quality must be managed throughout the processes and risks should be mitigated as the environment internally and externally is rapidly changing and technological advancement results in introduction of new products.

11. References

Heizer, J. and Render, B., 2011. Operations Management. 10th Ed. London: Prentice Hall. Schoeder, R.G., Goldstein, S., and Rungtusanatham, M.J., Operations Management in Supply Chain. 2013. 6th Ed. New York: MacGraw-Hill. Slack, N., Chambers, S., Harland, C., Harrison, A., and Johnston, R., 1998. Operations Management. 2nd Ed. London: Pitman Publishing.

Samples of products to be manufactured








Marketing and Sales Specialist

Human Resource and Administration Specialist

Financial Specialist

Operations Specialist

Engineering Specialist

Sales representatives x 2

Engineering Technician

Supervisors x 2

Packers/ Loaders x 4

Quality Assurers x 3

ICT Technician

Machine Operators x 4

Maintenance x 2

Drivers x 2

















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